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Impartial judgment is key for marriage tribunals, Pope tells canonists

January 26, 2015

Pope Francis stressed the importance of impartial judgment by marriage tribunals, as he spoke on January 24 to participants in a canon-law seminar.

The meeting, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, marked the 10th anniversary of Dignitas Connubii, the Vatican document setting out the norms for marriage tribunals. As he met with participants, the Pope remarked that these norms should help the tribunals work efficiently. He added—possibly alluding to changes in the annulment process, a subject discussed at length during last October’s meeting of the Synod of Bishops—that “the possibility of future legislation intended for the same purpose cannot be excluded.”

Pope Francis then turned his attention to the role played by the “defender of the bond,” whose task is to present the best arguments against an annulment. The Pope observed that this official’s work does not determine the judge’s final decision, but “rather allows and promotes the impartiality of his judgment.”


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